Will You Pay for Online News?
Some are calling 2012 "the year of the newspaper paywall" and here in Cobb and Metro Atlanta, it looks like they're right.
News publications, including the Marietta Daily Journal and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, are trying to find ways to monetize their online news.
In addition to ads, these publications have now established paywalls requiring readers to pay to read their news online after they reach a monthly reading limit of free articles.
For the L.A. Times, that limit is 15 articles a month. The MDJ states that readers can sign up for a digital monthly subscription for about 99 cents for the first month.
The New York Times revamped its paywall platform in 2011 after a failed attempt a few years earlier. In about a year's time, the paper had about 380,000 digital subscribers.
The newspaper industry is hemorrhaging money and slashing staff members and the size of the paper itself to try to save money. The struggling housing market has been somewhat of a blessing for newspapers because the influx of foreclosure notices has helped keep some afloat.
According to this report from the Wall Street Journal, newspapers saw weekday circulation decrease by 10 million from 1999 to 2009 and advertising revenue was slashed in half during the same time period.
Clay Shirky, a prominent associate journalism professor at New York University, until recently was an outspoken opponent of paywalls for online news.
However, Shirky has called 2012 "the year of the newspaper paywall" because many newspapers have designed a system knowing that they could never get "even a sizable minority" to pay directly for online news, "but we can design a system in which some of our most passionate, engaged readers pay us directly, and the rest of the readers, the casual readers, we can keep around for the advertising revenue," he told NPR in January.
The Mail Online, one of the–if not the largest–newspaper website in the world, has seen its revenue grow 69 percent without a paywall, and even included a column on July 25 stating that paywalls may not be the answer.
Will you pay for online news? How do you see newspapers changing? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.